Ben Dunno, Warri
Five Urhobo communities in Delta State have passed a vote of no confidence on Zenith Construction Limited, the contracting firm handling the major road project linking the entire areas.
They have consequently urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to, as matter of urgent public interest, revoke the road contract awarded to the company before it rubbished its good intentions to their people.
The communities comprising; Otutuama, Esaba, Ophorigbala, Ighwreogun and Otitiri, are parts of Ughievwen Kingdom, in Jeremi ward 4, Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, and jointly account for about 50 percent of the voting population of the entire council area.
Reading the statement on behalf of the affected communities at a press briefing, in Warri, on Tuesday, a prominent member of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF), Prof. Godini Dara, noted that call for the revocation of the contract award to Zenith Construction Ltd, had become necessary based on the obvious incompetence of the firm to deliver.
According to him, “It is important to draw public attention to the fact that the entire road project is about 20km; the first phase (Okwagbe to Otutuama Bridge) is about three kilometres.
“In line with the contract agreement, Governor Okowa is expected to open the first phase on August 30 this year. But after eleven months, Zenith Construction Ltd, has not been able to complete one km”.
He disclosed that the disappointment was not only frustrating but annoying when one considers the fact that it played out at the time the state government went against its policy of not paying mobilisation fees to any of the contractors handling any major road project in the state as the company was fully mobilised.
“Governor Okowa, being determined to complete the road on schedule, suspended this policy and magnanimously paid advance fees to Zenith Construction Ltd of about N200m (Two Hundred Million Naira) to enable the completion of the job in good time”.
“Several months after receiving this generous financial assistance, Zenith has not made progress in the project. The reason is that Zenith Construction Ltd is not technically competent to handle the project. The company lacks the modern equipment and management capacity to undertake the work”, he stated.
“Zenith Construction Ltd is out to deliberately sabotage the project and blemish the good image of Governor Okowa and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
“The reputation of the government is at stake; the party’s chances in future election may be endangered unless an urgent drastic action is taking to avert the situation.
“It is our humble prayer therefore that His Excellency, Governor Okowa should revoke the contract with Zenith Construction Ltd and re ward it to a competent and responsible company.
“This decision is urgent in order to complete the road quickly and restore the hope and confidence of our people ahead of the 2019 general election”.